Interview with Claire O’Neill, Breeder of Bark Bark Samoyeds
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Claire O’Neill: We have 2-1/2 acres in Northern Arizona where we have room for our dogs to run and “be dogs,” and it is where we whelp and raise our litters. We have owned Samoyeds since 1985 and we purchased our first show dog in 2008. Our first litter was whelped in December of 2011.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Claire O’Neill: Our kennel name is Bark Bark Samoyeds, which is very fitting for this breed. Samoyeds can be very vocal and they love to talk. We currently have nine dogs, as we don’t place our girls after they are done having litters. So, we have four females that range in age from 13 to 10. Our youngest is a three-month-old male. He is a singleton from a linebreeding we did with frozen semen, and we are really hoping he is going to be very special.
We got our first show dog in 2008. We had just lost our Malamute and decided that we wanted to go back to the Samoyed breed, so we found a litter that had puppies available and the breeder wanted us to show the dog.
Even though we had never watched a dog show before, we decided to give it a shot. And the result was MBIS MRBIS MBISS GCHP Glaciers’ N Rowdy’s Czargent Trouble ROMC. “Sarge” retired from showing in 2012 after holding the #1 Breed and #2 All-Breed spot for two years. In 2015, as a seven-year-old veteran, he came back out. He finished that year #3 Breed and #4 All-Breed. In 2019, as an almost eleven-year-old veteran, he was Best Veteran and AOM at the SCLA Specialty in Indio. Sarge crossed the bridge in May of 2021. He was a “heart dog,” and he is the foundation behind our line.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Claire O’Neill: Bark Bark Samoyeds other noteworthy dog of the past would be BIS RBIS MBISS GCHP Polar Mist N Bark Bark’s Built Tough. “Ford” was a Top 5 Breed and All-Breed dog for two years, in 2015 and 2016. Ford retired from showing at the end of 2016 and went to live in Alaska. Unfortunately, he crossed the bridge three years ago. I am actually writing this on the anniversary of his crossing.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Claire O’Neill: Bark Bark Samoyeds have had two influential sires. Sarge and also his son, “Malone,” GCH Bark Bark’s Riding With Private Malone.
Our two most influential dams have been “Reba,” GCH White Magic’s Little Rock ROMC and “No No,” GCHS Snowater N Bark Bark’s No No Nanette ROMC. Reba finished her AKC championship very young, at six months 21 days. At nine months old, she was a SCA National AOM winner and a Group placer at just a year old. But she was happier being a home dog. No No was a SCA National WB/BOW/AOM at eleven months old, a Specialty winner, and a multiple Group placer.
We have had 30 offspring achieve their AKC championships from our breeding program, as well as a Best in Show winner. “Blaze,” BIS BISS GCHS Bark Bark’s Setting The World On Fire, and Reserve Best in Show winner “Gunny,” RBIS GCH Bark Bark’s Eagle Globe & Anchor.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Claire O’Neill: Our litters are whelped in our master bedroom where we have a large walk-in closet that has heat and air. That way we can also be in the same room with them. At four weeks old, they move to a large puppy pen in our attached garage that also has heat and air. There they have room to play and socialize with all of our other dogs, as the door to the garage from the house is left open. All of our dogs live in the house and sleep there, so there is always one or more of them with the puppies.
The puppies are evaluated between 8-9 weeks of age with the help of other Samoyed breeders. We choose the puppies’ homes by matching them to the families’ lifestyles and the goals they have. We don’t let new homes choose their puppy because we don’t want the high drive, active one going to an older couple, nor do we want the shy, laid-back one going to a family with active children. New show homes are always welcomed and we help them along the way. The most important thing is that they go to good, loving homes.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Claire O’Neill: The 4-6 Month Beginner Puppy competition is great for getting the pups ready for the show ring as well as for socialization. We encourage show homes to find handling classes to help get the puppies prepared. As far as special preparation for the show ring, that would be the grooming. It is important to have a very clean, line-combed dog presented in the ring. Also important is to make sure that the only trimming done on the dog is to the feet and hocks.
Are Performance and Companion titles important to me as a breeder? Are parent club titles?
Claire O’Neill: We personally haven’t put performance or companion titles on our dogs that we have, but we have some that have gone to homes that do these and they are very pleased. Parent club titles are very nice to get; one of our pups that we placed in a first-time show home was RWD in 2019 at our National at six months old. We have had four of our dogs compete in Top 20 at our Nationals, and four have been AOM winners.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Claire O’Neill: Our breed is extremely well-suited to be a family dog. In Siberia, where they are from, their job was to herd reindeer, pull the sleds, and keep the family warm. This breed is not a breed to just leave outside. They want to be inside with the family and they want to help you do everything. They need jobs to do or they will get bored and can be naughty. It is a running joke here that ours are part goat, as they have a habit of jumping up onto tables. As a breeder, it makes us really happy to find good homes, especially those with children where they can grow up together; also those homes where they are active outdoors, doing things like hiking.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Claire O’Neill: Our breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders who are breeding to better the breed by breeding dogs that best conform to our standard and continue to do the jobs they were bred to do. Preservation breeders are studying pedigrees to know what is behind their lines, generations back, and they are health testing all breeding stock, and not using ones that have issues that will be passed along. They know that our breed is a pack animal that needs to get along with its pack, and they are looking for—and keeping—that temperament. Preservation breeders sell their puppies with health contracts, and they will always take a puppy back for any reason. It is pretty common in our breed for a buyer to come back to us for a second or even a third puppy.
Bark Bark Samoyeds | Claire O’Neill
Are you looking for a Samoyed puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder? Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Samoyed dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
Samoyed Dog Breed Magazine
Read and learn more about the friendly Samoyed dog breed with articles and information in our Samoyed Dog Breed Magazine.
Samoyed Breed Magazine - Showsight